Welcome to Neuroscience

The Department of Neuroscience at UT Southwestern Medical Center is dedicated to research into fundamental questions concerning neuronal and brain functions in health and diseases.

Neuroscience stands at the forefront of biology in the exploration of some of the most profound questions concerning living systems. The understanding of how nervous systems function and how they generate integrative behavior and cognition remain one of the most difficult challenges in science today.

The application of neural science to the study of behavior has made tremendous progress over the last five decades. Arguably, the success and remarkable growth of neuroscience can be attributed to its interdisciplinary nature and its ability to continue to incorporate new disciplines and technology.

Currently, neuroscience is entering yet another era with the revolution in genetics, genomics, biochemistry and structural biology. While biophysics using electrophysiological approaches has been a cornerstone of neuroscience, the disciplines of chemistry, structural biology and genetics have penetrated neuroscience only recently. These fundamental disciplines are critical for a mechanistic understanding of neural function. This interface is where UT Southwestern excels and where fundamental new discoveries in neuroscience will be made in the coming century.

Neuroscience at UT Southwestern is driven by a mechanistic understanding of the brain. That is what sets us apart from other neuroscience programs: our tradition in metabolism and genetics, pharmacology, chemistry, biochemistry, structural biology, and biophysics provides a unique and rich environment for understanding brain function at a mechanistic level.

The Department of Neuroscience was founded in 2007 and has grown substantially to more than 23 primary faculty members. Scientists within the Department of Neuroscience participate in a vibrant, interdisciplinary, interdepartmental, and highly collaborative research community.

The Department is a basic research facility, and does not perform clinical research. However, many projects pursued in the Department are likely to have a significant impact on understanding neurological and psychiatric diseases. It has become clear that significant progress in understanding disease is derived from insight into the normal functions of biological processes, and that basic research into the fundamental properties of a biological system and its perturbations in disease is the best approach to discover and develop new diagnostic and therapeutic methods.

The research in the Department on neurogenetics, genomics, neuronal development, circuit mechanisms, learning and memory, circadian biology, synaptic transmission, structural biology, and neurodegenerative processes will be particularly important in diseases such as autism spectrum disorder, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, depression, and schizophrenia in which these processes are affected.